7 reasons why ebooks are better than printed books

From Business Insider:

I have always been a book worm. When I was eight, I even won an award for “being an avid, spontaneous reader” (my reward was a book — a beautifully illustrated version of “The Secret Garden” by Frances Hodgson Burnett).

Growing up, my room was full of shelves upon shelves of paperbacks and hardcovers. I kept a journal to remember all the books I had read. I scorned people who bent the corners of pages instead of using a bookmark, I couldn’t imagine marking up a book with a pen or highlighter, I hated when book spines cracked or covers bent.

When ebooks came on the scene, I thought they were ridiculous. Why would I want to read on a digital device when I could hold a lovely physical book, when I could smell the pages and have the satisfaction of turning real pages? I was, in short, a book fanatic.

I tell you all this because I’m never not surprised that I am now an ebook evangelist.

It all started when I (accidentally) became a tech reporter and I started to review e-readers. At first, I disliked having to test them and eagerly awaited going back to my paperbacks, but then I started traveling a lot for work and something clicked: Ebooks are good!

Ebooks vs. books: Why are ebooks better?

  1. They are much more portable than physical books, so you can carry dozens if not hundreds or thousands of them around with you on a device that weighs less than half a pound.
  2. You can download them in a matter of minutes so you don’t have to wait for them to be delivered if you ordered them online.
  3. You don’t have to go to the store to buy them.
  4. They are never out of stock because they are digital files.
  5. You can get many ebooks for free from Project Gutenberg, Amazon, and your local library.
  6. Ebooks often go on sale, so you can get bestsellers for $1 to $5. You can follow BookBub for deal alerts.
  7. They come with fun features like sharing highlighted quotations on social media, looking up words in the dictionary as you read, digital bookmarks, and much more.

Link to the rest at Business Insider

3 thoughts on “7 reasons why ebooks are better than printed books”

  1. I think ebooks are awesome for people who like them, but I’m still a dead-tree person. (Only for recreational reading, though…I get my news and random articles online, and would love if my workplace could go completely paperless.) For me, the 7 flipsides would be:

    1. I’m not a super-fast reader, so I’m rarely in a position where I need to carry more than one book with me anywhere. If I’m almost finished with one, I might carry two, which still easily fit in my purse. Even on one- to two-week trips I don’t need to bring more than five or six. Plus, if I’m going to be carrying it around away from home, leaving it in my car, etc., I figure my secondhand paperback is a lot less likely to get stolen than a $100+ e-reader, and if it gets soaked at the beach it’s cheaper to replace.

    2. I can see this as a benefit for people who don’t have such shameful TBR piles, but I’m never at a loss for books to read while I’m waiting for the next batch to arrive. In fact, if a rare used book from England, etc. takes a while to come in the mail, I’m apt to forget I ordered it, so it’s like getting an unexpected Christmas present from someone who knows exactly what I like.

    3. I *love* going to bookstores/thrift stores/yard sales! Especially when I’m not looking for a particular book, and never know what I’m going to find. For me the browsing experience online just doesn’t compare, especially for older/used books that don’t have “look inside” features.

    4. Yes, it is occasionally frustrating when I can’t find a copy of a rare or obscure book, or can’t find it for a reasonable price. But such books are unlikely to be available as ebooks anyway. And I have this weird sense of possessive insecurity about the possibility that rights holders could change/edit/yoink my digital books after the fact, or that they might become obsolete and unreadable. (Sure, some of my old paperbacks printed on acidic paper might literally rot away, but not in my lifetime.)

    5. This is genuinely great, but I’m fortunate enough that I can easily afford to keep myself in quality reading material. Plus I’m picky about what I read, so I’d far rather pay for the books I really want rather than be limited to the selection of free ones.

    6. Again, this is great, and I do love me some cheap books…but my town has a ton of thrift stores with $1 hardbacks and 50-cent paperbacks, and we have a gigantic twice-annual book sale where most books are under $5 to begin with, and everything is 10 cents on the last day.

    7. I can see how some people would really enjoy this, but I don’t do social media, and at this point in my life I rarely need a dictionary outside the one in my head. And I have a strangely accurate visual memory for where words/phrases appear on printed pages, which makes finding things easier for me in paper books than digital files…I get visually “lost” in files longer than short-story length (unless I’m the one who created them word by word, and know where everything is).

    Basically, ebooks are better for some people, dead-tree books are better for others, and it’s wonderful that we have a huge variety of both…at least until everyone alive is a complete digital native, everything ever written is available in digital format, and no one grew up reading enough physical books to develop a sensory/visuospatial preference for them (if that ever happens).

  2. I have been a screen person for the last 40 years, at least. One of the few good things I see in the covid pandemic is that anti-screen paranoia is pretty much over.

    That being said, I still like paper books. For a long time, I was actively anti-paper, but no longer. I estimate that a quarter to a third of my reading is paper books and I don’t see that changing. I like the feel of a well-worn paperback in my hands as much as I welcome the light weight and compactness of books on ereaders. Digital searches are the bomb and I love being able to track down references, definitions, and facts in an instant on the network. The network is a treasure trove, not a distraction for me. Yet, there is nothing on an ereader that equals the convenience of a finger stuck in a paper book at a table I keep going back to as I read. And it is so satisfying to see and feel the pages piling up on the left side as I rip through a thriller.

    I am happy to have a choice.

Comments are closed.